Refugees, including people from Syria, Iran, Eritrea and Sudan, can now apply to a new government programme to gain the skills they need to enter the UK job market and lead independent lives.
The government’s new £52 million Refugee Employability Programme aims to overcome the barriers faced by refugees to integrate into local communities and society, including language and cultural differences, and speed up their contribution to the UK economy. Afghans resettled in England under either ACRS and ARAP will also be eligible to apply to the programme.
The programme will operate for two years and will provide enhanced support to refugees and Afghans across employment, English Language training and integration, to build up their confidence and skills to find work and secure better prospects for themselves and their families.
Through the new Refugee Employability Programme, people will receive a personal development plan that will be tailored to their ambitions and personal circumstances. This will range from skills courses, support with CV writing and job applications, work experience opportunities, and enhanced English language training, including access to formal and informal classes, online learning and resources and conversational classes.
For people who do not already receive integration support, the programme will help them access public services, including a GP and a job centre, local community groups and mental health support. Doing so will help vulnerable refugees to rebuild their lives in the UK and put them on the path to self-sufficiency.
This is in addition to eligible refugees having the right to work in the UK, access to public services and claim benefits, including Universal Credit.
Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick said:
We want refugees and Afghans who have come to the UK legally and safely to have every opportunity to enter the world of work and contribute to our economy and society.
Our new Refugee Employability Programme strengthens the support available to those who have come here on safe and legal routes, giving them the skills and knowledge needed to build a long-term and independent future for themselves and their families, and to fully integrate into their communities.
Broadly, refugees are over 20% less likely to be in employment than Brits, with this gap significantly widening for refugee women who are 30% less likely to be in work. The government’s Refugee Employability Programme aims to reduce this gap by providing people with the skills and experience they need to gain employment and give back to society.
The Programme is open to all those granted refugee status in the UK or those who have been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain through one of the government’s safe and legal humanitarian routes. This includes the United Kingdom Resettlement Scheme (UKRS), Afghan Citizen Resettlement Scheme (ACRS), Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy Scheme (ARAP) the Community Sponsorship Scheme, Mandate Resettlement Scheme, and Family Reunion.
The Refugee Employability Programme was designed in consultation with refugees and organisations in the refugee support sector to complement existing provisions already available to help refugees rebuild their lives in the UK.
It builds on the significant package of support the government has put in place to help refugees and resettled Afghans. This includes Operation Warm Welcome, which was set up after the evacuation of Afghanistan to provide support for Afghan arrivals, and included additional funding to enable them to access healthcare, rental top-ups and a portal where the public could submit offers of housing and work, amongst others.
Read more about the Refugee Employability Programme